Join us on Friday, November 19, 2021 at the Odyssey Restaurant, Granada Hills, California, to celebrate the 17th Annual Night with the Stars Gala in support of our scholarships and programming.
Pukúu was established with the goal of creating and investing in programs that bridge and improve opportunities for Native Americans in our communities. Now, 50 years from its inception, Pukúu remains faithful in its mission by continuing to increase programs and services offered to Native Americans in Los Angeles County.
Support from our community is vital to our organization and allows us to achieve our goals each year. We rely on the donations of individuals, businesses, and organizations to serve every demographic within our communities. Your contribution would aid in providing scholarships to Native American students aiming to achieve higher education, as well as assist in the enrichment of Pukúu’s core programs.
Luz M. Rivas was born in Los Angeles to an immigrant family and grew up in the Northeast San Fernando Valley. She attended LA Unified schools before earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from MIT and a master’s of education from Harvard.
Luz has built her career at the intersection of engineering, education and public service. She worked as an electrical design engineer at Motorola before founding DIY Girls, a nonprofit that provides enrichment programs focused on encouraging young girls to pursue careers in science, engineering and technology. In 2016, she was appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti to the Los Angeles Board of Public Works.
Luz was elected and sworn in to the California State Assembly in June of 2018. She is the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and currently serves on the Assembly Committees on Budget; Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources and Transportation; Health; Local Government; Revenue and Taxation; and the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management. She is also the Chair of the Select Committee on the Non-profit Sector, and serves on the Select Committee on Latina Inequalities and Select Committee on Education. It is an honor for her to represent the community she grew up in.
Jenée Robin Ornelas is an enrolled citizen of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, with heritage to the villages in the San Fernando, Simi, and Santa Clarita valleys and is also of Filipina descent.
Born and raised in her ancestral homeland of San Fernando Valley, Ornelas is the granddaughter of the previous Tribal leader Captain Rudy Ortega Sr. and great-great granddaughter of Tribal Captain Antonio Maria Ortega, who spent his life protecting their ancestral lands in local courts in the 19th century. She is a member of Siutcabit, the lineage originating in present-day Encino.
Ornelas graduated from California State University, Northridge in 2019 with a B.A. in Child and Adolescent Development and is a member of the TAU SIGMA National Honors Society for Transferred Students. Since 2016, Ornelas has served her tribe as the Education and Cultural Learning Department’s Program Director.
Through her work, she oversaw the publication of the first ever Fernandeño Tataviam Language Workbook.
She enjoys practicing the Fernandeño Tataviam language with her niece, practicing her beadwork, and promoting the legacy of her lineage and people.
Avril Cordova is an enrolled member of the Taos Pueblo Tribe of Taos, New Mexico on her father’s side and 6th Generation from Chief Red Cloud of the Oglala Lakota Nation from Pine Ridge South Dakota on her mother’s side. Avril is the owner/operator of AC and Associates and has been an Entrepreneur since October 2019 starting her own business after more than 13 years at Seven Generations Child and Family Services Prevention & Aftercare program through United American Indian Involvement in Los Angeles, CA as a Care Coordinator.
Avril has coordinated, hosted and facilitated online community events with Pukúu Cultural Community Services since the start of the pandemic with April 1st 2020 as the launch of virtual programming. Avril’s work includes parent advocacy, care coordination on treatment teams, technical assistance, and family/youth activities including training and facilitation of Positive Indian Parenting and Gathering Of Native Americans (GONA) curriculum as a master facilitator. Recently connecting communities through GONA virtual events such as Chuckchansi, Lakota, Alaskan nations. Avril was born and raised in Downey, CA. She is an active community member in the Los Angeles American Indian/Alaskan Native population, and as well is involved with different American Indian committees. She is a proud parent of a 27-year-old daughter and a Unci (grandmother) of two 8th Generation Chief Red Cloud grandchildren who are 3 and 6 years old. Avril currently holds the honor of Board Member for the American Indian Community Council. Avril is a NICWA Community Tribal Trainer and has facilitated training to the social worker’s core academy around Basic ICWA.
Avril goes back to her reservations on a regular basis to attend and participate in ceremonial traditions. Avril is currently on the path as a language warrior taking Taos Pueblo Language classes facilitated by Taos Pueblo Education Department.
Avril has been on the red road for the past 16 years and role models a positive and honest lifestyle to her daughter/grandchildren and those around her on a daily basis.
Master of Ceremonies
Jacob Pratt is Dakota and Ojibway from Cote First Nation. He is the Owner and Producer/Director of the film and television company Skoden Entertainment, with a Masters in Social Entrepreneurship from the USC Marshall School of Business.
Aaron Martin, a tribal citizen of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians with Tataviam and Chumash ancestry. Aaron is a Northern Traditional dancer who has dancer in many pow wows through out Southern California. Currently living in Yuhaaviatam lands, San Bernardino, California with his family and is a proud father to his iikok (son).
Phillip Hale is of the Diné (Navajo) Nation. Phillip was born and raised within the Los Angeles American Indian community, however his parents deemed that it was crucial for him and his siblings to know, as much as possible, about their Native identity and to know about their tribal traditions. During every opportunity, Phillip’s parents would take the family back “home” to their reservation to participate in different aspects of the Navajo culture.
Phillip is a graduate of UCLA, majoring in American Indian Studies, and has worked within American Indian education for approximately 30 years. He also works as a cultural consultant for various Native community organizations.